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Tom Segev is one of Israel’s more distasteful post-Zionists, which is saying a lot, considering their generally unappetizing nature. His newest book, 1967: Israel, the War, and the Year That Transformed the Middle East, is as one-sided and tendentious a work as one would expect from Segev, a columnist for Haaretz whose stock-in-trade is books blaming Israel and Zionism for every conceivable ill in the Middle East.
One of the better reviews of 1967 appears in the current issue of The New Republic (July 23 cover date), and what makes it all the more effective is that it’s written by Benny Morris, a professor of Middle East history at Ben-Gurion University and one of the original group of scholars first tagged as “post-Zionists” two decades ago. Morris has had some second thoughts in recent years, but the ferocity with which he goes after Segev is still astounding – and thoroughly enjoyable.
“In Segev’s view,” writes Morris, “to understand the Six Day War one needs to understand more than the ‘diplomatic and military background. What is needed is deep knowledge of the Israelis themselves.’
“Not of the Arabs – of Nasser and his generals, who sent in their tank divisions and closed the straits in defiance of the agreements of 1956-1957; or of the Jordanians, who ignored Israeli appeals on the morning of June 5 not to open fire or, later, to stop firing artillery into downtown West Jerusalem, the suburbs of Tel Aviv, and the Ramat David air base in lower Galilee (the IDF began responding only at around noon, after Jordanian troops stormed the U.N. headquarters compound in southern Jerusalem); or of the Syrians, who rained down shells on Israel’s Jordan Valley settlements starting on the evening of June 5….
“No, there is no need to look at or understand Nasser, Hussein, or the Syrian leadership – or the hundreds of thousands of Arabs who took to the streets of Cairo, East Jerusalem, Damascus, and Baghdad shouting ‘Idhbah al Yahud!’, ‘Slaughter the Jews!’
“For Segev, Arab politics and Arab society have no bearing upon the proper understanding of the origins of the war. In 1967, the Arabs are mere props – mindless, thoughtless, motiveless extras, and in no meaningful sense historical agents….”
In sum, says Morris, “Segev’s 1967 is studded with such politically correct posturing, and riddled with perverse and high-minded asides and aphorisms.… [H]is book points readers and scholars in no worthwhile direction. Its argument is not merely wrong; it also makes a small contribution of its own to the contemporary delegitimation of Israel.”
* * *
Back in 2002 the Monitor strongly criticized Congressman Jerrold Nadler’s record on military and intelligence matters. Nadler wrote an indignant letter to the editor attempting to defend his record, and the Monitor answered point by point. (The whole business – the Monitor’s original column, Nadler’s response and the Monitor’s defense – can be viewed at The Jewish Press Blog, www.thejewishpress.blogspot.com.)
And so it was with more than a minimal amount of interest that the Monitor read the following, from the editors of the New York Post in that paper’s July 16 issue:
On June 26, Bradford Berenson, a former White House aide, testified before the House Judiciary Committee on whether suspected-terrorist detainees should have habeas-corpus rights.In one exchange, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan) lectured: “I don’t see how you can pick up someone in New York and say that his rights are different or less because he’s accused of being an enemy combatant, based on whatever information, as opposed to his being accused of being a murderer …”
Berenson replied: “We need to be clear about what that means. It means that if we had captured Mohammed Atta on September 10th, we would have had no choice but to treat him as a criminal defendant –”
Nadler (interjecting): “Exactly right.”
Berenson: “– which would have meant no interrogation –”
Nadler (interjecting): “Exactly right.”
Berenson: “– no intelligence, and the World Trade Center is coming down.”
Nadler: “That’s exactly right. And when we captured mass murderers in the United States, we did exactly the same. We captured Charles Manson, we did the same.”
Nadler’s district includes Ground Zero.
About the Author: Jason Maoz is the Senior Editor of The Jewish Press.
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Obama went to begin the Arab Spring in Egypt which is still his target; Israel is just the lever.
Qatar’s wealth and Turkey’s size should not preclude us from telling it as it is: Qatar and Turkey are among the worst villains in the Gaza tragedy.
New Delhi would do well to remain aware of the predicament of Israel today.
his Tisha B’Av, and this Tu B’Av, remember: Hashem will protect us if we unite and rally around Him
Israel’s morality is underscored by its unprecedented restraint and care for loss of life.
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Obama has chosen shaky ally on the way out over strong ally solidly in the American orbit.
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Nothing is ever so clear in the complex and often brutal calculus of urban warfare.
These are not necessarily the best all-around biographies or studies of the individual presidents listed (though some rank right up there), but the strongest in terms of exploring presidential attitudes and policies toward Israel.
What really makes one wonder about the affinity felt by certain Jews for Grant was the welcome mat he put out for some of the country’s most pernicious anti-Semites.
With 2013 marking half a century since Kennedy’s fateful limousine ride in Dallas, the current revels are exceeding the revisionist frenzies of years past, with a seemingly endless parade of books, articles and television specials designed to assure us that, despite everything that has come to light about him since his death, JFK was a great president, or at least a very good president who would have been great had his life not been so cruelly cut short.
As someone who for the past fifteen years has been writing a column that largely focuses on the news media, I’ve read what is no doubt an altogether unhealthy number of books on the subject. Most of them were instantly forgettable while some created a brief buzz but failed to pass the test of time. And then there were those select few that merited a permanent spot on the bookshelf.
George W. Bush has been getting some positive media coverage lately, with recent polls showing him at least as popular as his successor, Barack Obama, and a big new book about the Bush presidency by New York Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker (Days of Fire, Doubleday) portraying Bush as a much more hands-on chief executive than his detractors ever imagined.
Readers who’ve stuck with the Monitor over the years will forgive this rerun of sorts, but as we approach the fortieth anniversary of the Yom Kippur War – and with the stench of presidential indecisiveness hanging so heavily over Washington these days – it seemed only appropriate to revisit Richard Nixon’s role in enabling Israel to recover from the staggering setbacks it suffered in the first week of fighting.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/media-monitor/two-headaches-in-search-of-a-cure/2007/07/18/
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